Law in the making

This project used five detailed case studies and over 80 exclusive interviews with ministers, MPs, peers, government and parliamentary officials and pressure groups to analyse the influences and elements that come together to make an act of Parliament.

The final report, Law in the Making: Influence and Change in the Legislative Process, concludes that Parliamentary scrutiny does make a difference to legislation and that the widely-held view of Parliament as a ‘rubber stamp’ for government legislation bears little resemblance to reality.

Main findings

Although there is a predominant belief within government that to change a bill is a sign of weakness, parliamentary scrutiny does make a difference to the final shape of an Act.

  • MPs and peers, whether individually or collectively, have a larger impact than is commonly recognised.
  • External actors have a marked influence on legislation, often by working closely with parliamentarians.
  • Parliamentary scrutiny has been enhanced in recent years, with more changes made to government bills.
  • Nonetheless, the volume and complexity of legislation continue to inhibit Parliament’s effectiveness.

Recommendations for reform

  • More structured and straightforward government consultations.
  • An increase in pre-legislative scrutiny.
  • Improvements to the committee stage.
Project details


Grant holder

Alex Brazier, Hansard Society

Grant amount and duration


April 2006 - June 2008



Law in the Making: Influence and Change in the Legislative Process, Alex Brazier, Susanna Kalitowski and Gemma Rosenblatt, Matt Korris, Hansard Society 2008

This report is available to buy from the Hansard Society website